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Sunday Pictorial 12th October 1930

Sunday Pictorial 12th October 1930


75,000 PEOPLE

Route to Cemetery Lined All Way by Great Crowds

There must have been 75,000 people lining the roadside from the station to the cemetery, with nearly 500 police and special constables and 100 ambulance men.

Women fainted. The strain was too much for many of them, coupled with the long hours of waiting.

In the village all was still. The only sounds were those of the distant thunder of aeroplane engines and the mournful howling of a dog.

The funeral procession was so long that the escort marching at its head was halfway to the graveside when the last tender was still on the outskirts of Bedford. The length was estimated at a mile and a half.


The bell in the old church tower had been tolling for nearly half and hour when above its tones could be heard the strains of Chopins Funeral March. Round a distant bend in that leafy Bedford lane came the procession.

After the splendour of the service at St. Pauls and magnificence of the lying-in-state at Westminster Hall the simplicity of the burial rites had a direct appeal.

As soon as the first cortege had passed into the cemetery the task began of transferring the flag-draped coffins into that common grave. And out of the sky swept aeroplanes, one after the other, in steady succession dipping in final salute.

By the graveside stood the Bishop of St. Albans, the Vicar of Cardington, the Chaplain in Chief of the RA.F, the Roman Catholic Bishop and Nonconformists Ministers.

The words of the committal service rang out, while many women fainted and tears run down the cheeks of many men. Some wept openly. Then came the Roman Catholic prayers.

Some fell to their knees on the grass of the cemetery, praying and crying for those they had loved. When the service was over many of the relatives threw into the open grave the wreaths they brought with them.

Nurses and ambulance men moved about silently on errands of mercy.

Suddenly out of the silence that followed came a word of command. Immediately three volleys rang out, to be followed by the sounding of the Last Post and Reveille.

All was over. The men of R101 had been laid to rest among their own people.

Sunday Pictorial 12th October 1930

R101 Newspaper Articles

Page last updated: 3rd February 2014